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Making WhatsApp work for your customer support

WhatsApp is slowly opening up the business API. Even now its not a straight forward process and you need to go through hoops or work with a partner to get the business API access.
But lets say you are one of the lucky ones and have got access to the business API.(or you can talk to us and we will get you started). You now want to start providing support to your customers on the WhatsApp channel. What are some important points to remember? Do you need to do anything special? What are its advantages? What are its disadvantages?
In this blogpost I will try to answer these questions.

Its just another channel:

WhatsApp maybe the most used messaging platform in the world, but for your business, its just another channel. Deal with it like you would any other channel. It has the advantages of a chat channel(asynchronous, multiple chats can be handled by a single agent, share photos etc) with the added advantage that your customers need not install any new chat widgets or get used to a new UX.

Use WhatsApp features:

Use features specific to WhatsApp. Need directions? Share live location. Your agents can then track the live location of your users. The biggest advantage of a WhatsApp chat, you get the phone number of your customer. No need to ask for phone number and then enter in your CRM. You can pop the user details once the chat session is initiated.

Back it up with contact center software:

This is where we come in ;)
For the best support channel, you need the best contact center software. You should be able to monitor your WhatsApp agents just like you monitor your call agents. Your WhatsApp contact center software should have all the contact center features like queuing, skill routing, screen pop etc. They should be able to transfer chats also.

Train your agents:

Your agents should know how important a channel WhatsApp is. The expectations of users is different when they are using WhatsApp as a support channel. They expect immediate response. They better see the "typing" message appear on their screen as soon as they send a message.

Use Bots:

You can start the conversation with a bot. Show the most meaningful information the moment a chat session is initiated. And provide links for other common queries. Remember, WhatsApp is a rich medium. Use it. Show videos, audios and FAQ links. Keep the customer engaged and happy. I will write a separate blog post on what all you can do with bots and some good practices for user engagement.

WhatsApp voice calling is still not enabled. Once that's enabled through an API you will be able to do omnichannel customer support on WhatsApp itself.

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